Felines 101: Why Do Cats Knead?
If you own a cat, then you know that felines tend to exhibit a lot of unusual behavior that seems to have no clear cut rationale. One of the most common (and most confusing) cat behaviors is when they “make biscuits,” or knead your furniture, the blanket on your bed, or even your body.
The team at MarketPlace Veterinary Hospital wants to help you understand why cats knead so you can develop an even closer bond with your favorite feline.
Cats Knead to Feel Comforted
When a kitten is still nursing its mother, they instinctively learn to move their paws back and forth to press on the skin near the nipple to get more milk. Just like humans develop sensory memories that elicit positive reactions, the experience of kneading helps a cat remember how it feels to be so close to its mother.
Although other objects do not provide any milk when kneaded, the motion is incredibly comforting for felines. When the kneading is accompanied by a satisfied purr, your cat is probably showing their contentment. And a happy cat is usually a sign of a healthy cat.
That’s Mine: Claiming Their Territory
Since cats have scent glands in their paws, kneading is another way for them to stake a claim in their territory. This scent works a lot like invisible ink: humans might not be able to smell it, but other cats can!
When your cat kneads a spot in your house or on you personally, they are telling all other animals to back off because this one is taken. Although it might occasionally hurt when your cats kneads you with their claws, they are (most likely) doing it out of love.
Cats Knead Some Sleep
Some feline experts theorize that cats in the wild used kneading to pick out the perfect sleeping spot and make it as comfortable as possible. While your bedroom is already much cozier than a patch of grass in the jungle, taking the time to knead before laying down ensures that your cat will be wrapped in the thralls of comfort. Once the kneading is done, the relaxing can begin.
The Way to a Good Stretch
Cats spend a lot of the day exerting energy, especially when they nap in the pool of sunlight by the living room window, or nap across your bed, or nap on the living room sofa. Kneading helps your cat stretch out his or her sore muscles after an exhausting day of lounging. Kneading keeps their paws limber so they are ready to jump onto the counter or race across your bedroom at two in the morning.
Whether you want to learn more about why your cat acts a certain way or you want to be sure he or she gets all of the necessary vaccinations and preventives to stay healthy, MarketPlace Veterinary Hospital is always here for you and your furry friends. To learn more about our veterinary services, visit us online or call (916) 939‑1705.